Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Chef Ottolenghi: Nopi Restaurant in London

June 26th, 2017

Chef Ottolenghi: Nopi Restaurant in London

Just concluded participating in Burgundy week celebrations here in London with a tremendous weekend Paulee at Cabotte a wonderful French restaurant 48 Gresham Street on the east side near Bank. Some special bottles brought with notes made by your scribe on over 30 of them including outstanding Coche Dury whites and DRC reds among so many treasures. A later blog perhaps.

We are passionate followers of the recipe writer Israeli-British Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Really enjoy so much making the dishes from his excellent 5 cookbooks including The Cookbook, Plenty, Jerusalem, Plenty More and Nopi. He is co-owner of several successful delis in London and one sit down restaurant Nopi (www.nopi-restaurant.com) at 21 Warwick just off Regent Street at Beak. Therefore privileged and delighted to have a delicious lunch today at Nopi. Tried several dishes and rated everything tasted very highly indeed! Their mixed seed lavosh with burnt Spring onion dip is an unreal nibbles starter. We loved the char roasted eggplant with tamarind yogurt, pistachio topped by pickled lemon to die for! Even their crispy potato chips and coconut salad mackerel dishes sing clearly. A big surprise highlight was the fresh whole lemon sole on the bone with burnt butter, nori & ginger. Wow what a winner! Another smart move by Nopi is their reasonable winelist together with a just released Summer “bright” choices list by the glass that includes sparkling, appropriate roses, and chilled reds. If you are visiting London this year I highly recommend you check this place out. Also their cookbooks.

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14 Dishes you need for the perfect BBQ

June 24th, 2017

Barbecue dishes cuisine

By Joseph Temple

With the official start of summer, so begins the BBQ season.  Whether you prefer gas or charcoal, here are some yummy dishes to keep your guests coming back for more!  Let’s get your grill on!


Potato Salad1. Potato Salad

 

Potato Salad
2. Pasta Salad

 

Potato Salad
3. Ribs

 

Potato Salad
4. Steak

 

Potato Salad
5. Hamburgers

 

Potato Salad
6. Ice Cream

 

Potato Salad
7. Grilled Veggies

 

Potato Salad
8. BBQ Pizza

 

Potato Salad
9. Refreshing Drinks

 

Potato Salad
10. Corn on the Cob

 

Potato Salad
11. Fish

 

Potato Salad
12. Chicken

 

Potato Salad
13. Sausages & Hot Dogs

 

Potato Salad
14. Tomato Skewers


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Ask Sid: Château Latour?

June 21st, 2017
Ask your question here

Ask Sid: Château Latour?
By BillBl [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Question: What is it (the difference) that allows Château Latour when kept under ideal cellar conditions to age longer and better than most other classified Bordeaux wines? I recently shared an 82 Latour that had been bought on futures and kept in a cold cellar until opened in March 2017–35 years old and in still perfect color, bouquet, and taste conditions.

Answer: Excellent observation. IMHO it has to be the specific terroir of Château Latour in Pauillac giving their wines that inherent plummy fruit with balance in almost all vintages. The unique vineyard used for their Grand Vin has remained unchanged for over 300 years and has an amazing diversity of soils on slopes that are so close to the Gironde. I have been fortunate to try several extensive verticals of Château Latour and am always amazed at how long aging it is and how consistent often even in so called off vintages. Tried in 1977 in London at 3 events over 3 weeks some 36 different vintages tasting 12/week and not a disappointing bottle among them. That experience converted me ever since into becoming a very fond supporter of this property. Also impressed that same year at the IWFS Festival in London assisting John Avery and his sommelier crew in opening several cases of the profound 1945 put away by founder Andre Simon for the special occasion. Big fan of your delicious perfect 1982 but also the legendary 1961 and the underrated 1970 among many others. Château Latour seldom disappoints. Since the mid-1990s under the capable management of Frederic Engerer the wines continue to be outstanding reaching possible new heights. Château Latour certainly deserves the high reputation it enjoys for quality and the ability to age as long as or longer than most classified Bordeaux wines. It is indeed a unique terroir!


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Influence of Music & Colours on Your Wine Perception

June 19th, 2017

does music and color effect the way you drink wine

Your scribe is a long time admirer of the work by Professor Charles Spence of Oxford University an experimental psychologist specializing in sensory perception of food and wine. You may have heard about some of his more well known food studies including how the sound made by biting into a potato chip affects your perception as to how stale or crisp you think it is and eating strawberry mousse tastes sweeter out of a white container than a black one. The same arguments hold for beverages especially wine tasted with different music playing and other multisensory factors including colours in the room. Reference for more interesting discussion on these ideas at flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com

As a strong-minded sceptic I attended an actual demonstration of this theory last month in Germany conducted by Martin Messmer at Weingut Messmer (www.weingut-messmer.de). We tasted 6 wines all of the 2015 vintage blind in a circular tasting room at their winery in Burrweiler (Rheinland Pfalz) each with different coloured lighting in the room (from blue, blue/green, green, yellow, orange to red) and music (rock through to Mozart classic sonata). We rated the wines from 1 (best) to 6 (worst) based on these factors: schmeckt mir (how enjoyable), saure (personal choice for sour acidity), balance, nachhall (length of finish or aftertaste), and weinrebe (grape identity). In the final results two of the wines were the same with wine 1 & 5 being identical bottles of Riesling grown on schist soil (gives more minerals than granite) and wine 2 & 6 the very same Pinot Gris. Somewhat surprisingly we concluded that wine 5 showed much better structure than wine 1 and especially wine 6 was much cleaner brighter richer and enjoyable than wine 2. In fact it was hard to believe that wine 2 & 6 were in fact the same wine! Bottle variation? Martin Messmer says no but it is because of the influence of colour and music. As you move from the coolest colours to the warmest and louder assertive music to calmer your perception of the wine radically changes. Martin says “Music supports and helps us in the process. Our wines befall, as it were, an entertainment according to the resonance principle. Everything around us is vibration and this carries over. So the wine reflects itself to our thoughts and our passion also enriching and balancing vibration from the music once again. We are convinced that through this, our wines are even more salubrious, compatible, and digestible.” It worked for me and I am no longer such a sceptic. As a result of this experience I will be doing more experimenting with the influence of colour, music and other sensory influences while drinking a wine. Can this be true? Suggest you give it a try. Please let us know your opinion.


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A wine with a Cristal clear past

June 17th, 2017

cristal wine champagne czar alexander ii russia

By Joseph Temple

Just mention the word Cristal and most of us think of Hollywood celebrities and hip-hop moguls spending frivolously on expensive bottle service while partying late into the night. Beginning in the 1990s, this brand of Champagne has been referenced in so many rap songs that it is now synonymous with a culture defined mostly by escapism and braggadocio. And although there has been a falling out between its makers and the hip-hop community over recent years, it’s easy to see how this particular bottle of bubbly, distinctly wrapped in cellophane, came to symbolize the desire for luxury and wealth. After all, its original purpose was appealing to the vanity of a Russian tsar.

Searching for the origins of Cristal, one has to travel back in time to when Russia was one of the most highly sought-after markets for the great Champagne houses. As a result of the Napoleonic Wars where Russian soldiers briefly occupied the region, stories about the quality of its bubbles were sent back to the royal family, and very quickly, fizz became one of France’s most favored exports. Describing the breakthrough success of Veuve Clicquot during this time period, author Tilar J. Mazzeo writes, “Those same aristocratic officers who had come to love her wine during the occupation of Reims were now prepared to buy her champagne at any price. Soon, Czar Alexander declared that he would drink nothing else. Everywhere one heard the name of the Widow Clicquot and praises for her divine champagne.”

Enter the house of Louis Roderer and its most famous customer, Tsar Alexander II, a well known oenophile, and what you have are the makings of perhaps the most unique bottle of champagne in history. While Cristal today is known for its dry and clear taste, back in 1876, when the son of Louis Roderer created a prestige cuvée specifically for Russian royalty, it needed to appeal to the tsar’s well-known sweet tooth. Adding 20 percent of sweet liqueur and a collop of yellow Chartreuse to the pinot noir and chardonnay, Roderer succeeded in developing a wine that became the toast of the royal court. However, the drink was only one element—the other became its distinct packaging.

Not wanting to be seen drinking the same bubbly as the rest of the riff-raff, the tsar demanded an exclusive product that would stand out and one that only he could drink. The result became its iconic see-through design, which separated itself from the green bottles that everyone else drank from. The only difference from today is that back then, Cristal bottles were actually made from lead crystal.

Next came the flat bottom, designed specifically without a a punt. Having survived several assassination attempts, the tsar rightfully feared that his potential killer might sneak a bomb underneath a wine bottle, causing Roderer to make an adjustment that is still with us today. Of course, in the end, this design did not prevent the tsar’s murder in 1881. Even more devastating for Roderer was the Russian Revolution, which disposed his son Nicholas II from power. With this pivotal event, Cristal lost approximately 75% of its market overnight.

It would not be until 1945 that the general public finally got to taste this champagne, which is now wrapped in orange cellophane to protect against sunlight. But ever since its grand debut in 1876, Cristal has gone on to be one the most famous and recognized brands in the world, consumed by tsars, kings and celebrities alike.

Sources:

Clarke, Oz. The History of Wine in 100 Bottles: From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond. London: Pavilion Books, 2015.
Hammond, Carolyn. 1000 Best Wine Secrets. Naperville: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2006.
MacLean, Natalie. Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. London: A&C Black, 2010.
MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2015.


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